A cheap flight can get you to Antalya from anywhere in Turkey. Or you can take a bus. The bottom line is that Antalya is filled with beautiful old Ottoman style homes, gorgeous historical architecture, and the surrounding mountains and beaches are worthwhile any time of the year.
As I mentioned before, most of my time in Antalya was just hanging out, but for me, part of every day life is taking these incredibly long walks through wherever I might be roaming. In terms of visual enjoyment, there aren’t many places that can match Antalya. As the largest Turkish city on the Mediterranean Sea, it has a diversity of Roman, Ottoman, and modern architecture, a Roman Harbor, a delightful old town – Kaleici, and of course the scenic natural beauty.
A beautiful piece of Roman architecture sits near the city center. Called Hadrian’s Gate, it was built around 1900 years ago when the Emperor Hadrian visited the city. The city went from various hands but sat longest with the Ottomans for about 600 years or so. After the Ottomans, it went back to the Italians before becoming Turkish after the formation of the Turkish Republic. All of that might explain the feel of this place with it’s big squares and beautiful parks.
Kaleici, the old town is where you find most of the pubs, pensions, and restaurants. It sits beyond the famous clock tower which for the life of me, I couldn’t really figure out why it is famous. I’m not a fan of clock towers in general. Big Ben didn’t really wow me either. Oh, I forgot to mention one important aspect of Kaleici. Touts and rug merchants. Among the most aggressive in all of Turkey. As I was there in winter, they weren’t so bad, but everyone I talked with told me the same thing. When you blow these guys off, they are nasty. Too bad. the Ottoman houses in Kaleici are worth checking out though some of them seem so restored that one feels a bit like he’s visiting OttomanLand at Disney. Inside Kaleici, the narrow maze like streets start to feel a little like the medina of Fez (but not really so grand darling) except instead of donkeys- here you have to avoid motorbikes and cars. Ridiculous…
There’s an old ruin in the center, the Kesik Minare which was first a roman temple, then a mosque and then the Byzantine Church of the Virgin Mary. It was built around 200 AD. There are some other old buildings which I’m sure are fascinating to some…the Korkut Camii, Hidirlik Kalesi which is a sort of castle/tower from the first century AD. But the most exciting for me was finding a house that was being torn down and which had unearthed a Roman mosaic. This was an archeological dig without any barriers, any guards, and what looked like potshards and tilework scattered to the sides haphazardly.